Explaining what a House Show is to someone that hasn’t actually experienced one, is nothing short of difficult to do. If you are a music lover – someone who appreciates and understands what it takes to create something that is personal and then putting it out there for the world to hear and feel and experience, taking into account the hours upon hours that it takes to not only write the lyrics to the songs, but the music that accompanies it – it’s a little easier to fathom. But for someone that may not take that serious approach, it becomes a little more difficult to express how truly incredible these shows are.
Emma Hill and Bryan Daste came into our lives less than 3 short years ago. Since then, we have hosted probably 5 shows with them and attended probably 10+ shows. I use them as an example so much because they were our first brush with House Shows. As I’ve written before in How I Became a House Show Junkie, explaining how Emma came into our lives, during the time that we have come to know Emma and Bryan, we have grown very close with them. True friendships have taken the place of where the crazy fan-family once lived. This tends to come in the form of donning myself the President of the Superfans of Emma Hill Facebook page I created…among other things, like shamelessly plugging everything I can get my hands on – tour dates, rounding up friends and family across the US to get them to a show that might be playing in their area, promoting her music videos, and taking copious amounts of photos and videos on my YouTube channel from the concerts and shamelessly sharing them on all of the social media outlets I can.
It should come as no surprise then, that I write about this most recent show and visit with them here, on this humble blog.
We were lucky enough to spend about 4 days with Emma this time – 3 with Bryan. Emma flew in fresh (she may laugh at the “fresh” part…but I didn’t notice) from Thailand and I took a couple days off work to be able to spend time with her and after a day of much needed rest, Bryan arrived. After not seeing each other for a couple months or more, Bryan and Emma needed to get some rehearsal time under their belts and my house and BACK YARD (you’re welcome neighbors) were filled with music. They think of it as work, I just wanted to clap like a nutjob after each song they finished. Awkward. You know what’s cool? Doing the dishes and singing along with LIVE MUSIC instead of a recorded track or CD or playlist.
We were the first stop on their Spring tour. Friday evening we went to Longhorn BBQ where they performed their first show. The following day was our House Show at my Uncle Jeff’s house, but first they had an appearance at another of my family members’ businesses – they were celebrating being open for 5 years and threw a big wingding and asked them if they’d play. After Emma and Bryan were done there, they zoomed over to my Uncle’s house and got settled and ready for the show. There was probably 45-50 people there.
For the first time EVER, I left my cell phone in my purse. I wanted to just completely take in the show this time. I was not disappointed – I never have been. This show was even better than the last one – I’m pretty sure I feel this way about all of their shows. Emma and Bryan played their first set – over an hour and a half – before taking a break. The goal was to stretch the show a bit in the hopes that by the time the 2nd set came around, my oldest daughter would arrive after her shift was over at work. It aaaaaaaaaallllllllllmost worked. We waited as long as we could, but before Emma and Bryan started to play, my husband came up to me and said we were going to do a little impromptu tribute to Bryan – it’s always about Emma – she’s the songwriter and lead and deservedly so, but there is a subtle loveliness about what Bryan brings to her shows that needed to be addressed – and because they are adored by our friends and family so much, we thought now was the time. (Plus Katie hadn’t gotten there yet…)
There were so many things we wanted to say. Firstly, what an amazing friend he is to Emma – but his musicianship is really first class. He truly enhances what Emma is trying to accomplish. Even the most subtle of notes, or his perfect harmonies, the fact that he has an APP on his PHONE that he uses in one of the songs he plays with Emma…AN APP, y’all. And it’s perfectly incredible. The fact that he gets all of my husbands corny jokes, plays an AMAZING pedal steel, plays an equally incredible Banjo…I mean…and THE DREADLOCKS, you guys! It was a very emotional tribute for me and my husband – but then, my Uncle Jeff got up there…and even now, I’m tearing up. My uncle described how all his life he sang with my Dad as a back up vocalist and musician and how he knows what it’s like to be in the back ground and how much he appreciates what Bryan does and it was really special. Bryan’s voice just simply drifts in and out of songs and it’s almost as if it’s not there at all, but you can tell that if it weren’t there…you could tell and the song would be missing something. And at other times…he’s bold and right where he needs to be echoing Emma.
Something that most people didn’t realize was that after the 2nd set was done, I went up to Bryan and he was truly humbled and little did we know how much he needed to hear what we said that night. He said something to me like, he has been questioning what he’s doing and wondering if it’s the right path…and I just almost completely broke down because, I can’t imagine my world without this guy playing music and I can’t imagine what it must be like to be doing something you love so much, and have it feel like a struggle at times. One thing I’m certain about:
Bryan Daste, you sir, if you ever read this, need to never ever stop. You have a gift that needs to be heard and experienced and as sure as you are about your next breath, I’m sure of this.
As has become tradition, Emma asked Katie to sing Meet Me At The Moon with them as evidenced below:
The show wrapped up in amazing fashion, with Emma singing Alaska Dear. (that link is previously recorded – because I was not using my phone this show…)
The post show jam is always a HOOT. I have a very musical family and there are usually about 4 guitars, a stand up bass, a mandolin, Bryan on the pedal steel or stand up bass and a family friend named Pat that plays his box like a drum. And then there’s Jerett….my cousin. He’s usually got his Electric Guitar amped and ready to shred.
Where do you live? Do you have a large local music scene? Do you have someone that may be lesser known that you’d like to promote a little bit? Share a link in the comments and let us know what you’re listening to right now!
Music is life. Live it. Love it. Share it with the world.